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And That Happened: Saturday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores and highlights from Saturday’s games, including Jeremy Guthrie’s worst birthday ever.

Tigers 4, Red Sox 1: So much for the Twins’ undefeated streak. White Sox’ right-hander Miguel Gonzalez rattled off five scoreless frames on Saturday afternoon, striking out six of 27 batters and holding the Twins to two runs and two walks in over six total innings. Jason Castro bounced back in the sixth with a two-RBI home run to center field, but it wasn’t enough to even the score after Avisail Garcia and Geovany Soto went back-to-back in the bottom of the inning.

Cardinals 10, Reds 4: According to Elias Sports Bureau, Bronson Arroyo became the first 40-year-old to start a game for the Reds since 46-year-old Hod Lisenbee and 40-year-old Boom Beck appeared in the Reds’ rotation in 1945. It was a tumultuous and short-lived return to the mound for the veteran right-hander, who has been conspicuously absent from the majors for over three years. Whether it was nerves or rustiness, Arroyo sank the Reds into a six-run deficit by the fourth inning after handing the Cardinals six hits, three walks and two Aledmys Diaz home runs.

Orioles 5, Yankees 4: Baseball stats mean precious little in the first few months of a new season, but it’s worth pointing out that the Yankees currently have the third-most valuable bullpen in the American League, trailing only the Orioles and Angels. That did them little good on Saturday, however, when they lost another one-run game on a pair of RBI base hits in the seventh. Complicating matters was Gary Sanchez’s biceps strain, which he sustained after fouling off a pitch in the fifth. Perhaps it’s better to just remember Saturday’s game as the day Matt Holliday notched the 2,000th hit of his 14-year career:

Rays 3, Blue Jays 2 (11 innings): For four solid innings, Chris Archer and Aaron Sanchez were flawless. Archer delivered six strikeouts and kept a perfect game going until the fifth, while Sanchez allowed just two hits and prevented runners from reaching past second base. It was fitting, then, to see a pitchers’ duel decided by a pitching flub in the eleventh inning, when, with the bases loaded and two outs, the Blue Jays’ Casey Lawrence worked a 3-2 count against Brad Miller and walked in the winning run.

Pirates 6, Braves 4: Things could be going better for the Braves. An early win against the Mets last week ensured that they wouldn’t repeat their nine-game losing streak to start the season, but they’ve taken three consecutive losses since. Saturday was no better: R.A. Dickey buckled under nine runs, six walks and four strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings, and despite an airtight performance from the bullpen, Atlanta couldn’t quite muster the two runs they needed to regain the lead in the eighth inning.

Phillies 17, Nationals 3: Jeremy Guthrie has undoubtedly seen better birthdays. The Nationals selected the right-hander’s contract on Friday while Joe Ross finished his optional assignment, allowing Guthrie a brief window to make an impression on the team. Unfortunately, the impression he made was a poor one. Guthrie served up six hits, four walks, and a staggering ten runs through 2/3 of the first inning before left-hander Enny Romero came in to replace him. There’s no coming back from a disadvantage that great, especially after the Nationals saw their ten-run deficit snowball to a 14-run gap by the end of the eighth inning.

Cubs 11, Brewers 6: The Cubs looked more like their old World Champion selves on Saturday, evening the series with an 11-run effort on the back of Kris Bryant and Albert Almora Jr., among others. Every starting player — including right-hander Kyle Hendricks — logged at least one hit, and they collectively tagged the Brewers’ Tommy Milone with nine hits and four runs through four innings.

Royals 7, Astros 3: The Cubs weren’t the only ones who recovered some of their championship-caliber stuff this weekend. The Royals found a spark against the Astros’ bullpen, driving five hits, six runs and two homers against Houston right-hander Luke Gregerson in a decisive eighth-inning rally that brought to mind another late-game comeback from Kansas City’s 2015 postseason run. This time, however, the only compensation the Royals received was a series win, which they’ll look to convert into a sweep on Sunday.

Marlins 8, Mets 1: It looks like another standout performance is in the cards for Marcell Ozuna this season. The 26-year-old outfielder was batting .412/.444/.412 through his first four games of 2017 before Saturday, when he drove in two runs and unleashed a 437-foot, double-deck home run off of Robert Gsellman, falling just 10 feet shy of his all-time home run record.

Athletics 6, Rangers 1: With Sonny Gray still working his way back to the mound after sustaining a lat injury, Kendall Graveman has stepped to the forefront of the A’s rotation. It’s easy to see why. The right-hander was dominant on Saturday, taking a no-hitter through 6 2/3 innings against the Rangers and serving up two walks, five strikeouts and an unfortunately-placed 94 mph sinker to Mike Napoli.

Diamondbacks 11, Indians 2: You’ve seen a player hit for the cycle before, but have you seen a team collectively hit for the cycle in the span of one inning? The Diamondbacks engineered such a cycle in the sixth inning of Saturday’s game, starting with a David Peralta home run and followed by a Paul Goldschmidt double, Yasmany Tomas triple, Brandon Drury double and Jeff Mathis single. The inning ended, fittingly, with a seven-pitch strikeout to Zach Grienke, but the damage was already done, and another six-run spread in the eighth inning cemented the Diamondbacks’ 11-run rout.

Rockies 4, Dodgers 2: Coors Field is bound to get the best of every pitcher at some point, and on Saturday, it got the best of Clayton Kershaw. Nolan Arenado crushed a home run in the bottom of the first inning, while Mark Reynolds and Gerardo Parra went back-to-back in the sixth. By the end of the night, the Rockies had worked eight hits, four runs and three homers off of the Dodgers’ ace, marking the first game since April 17, 2013 in which Kershaw had allowed more than two home runs to opposing batters.

Padres 2, Giants 1: Giants’ left fielders Jarrett Parker and Aaron Hill continued their scoreless streak at the plate on Saturday, making the club’s recent acquisition of Melvin Upton Jr. all that more appealing. Madison Bumgarner wasted a complete game effort in the loss, issuing two runs, two walks and five strikeouts over eight innings.

Angels 5, Mariners 4: Despite Felix Hernandez’s steady decline over the last two seasons, there’s no denying he’s still a dominant force on the mound. No one felt the brunt of that more than Mike Trout, who lost a 14-pitch battle with the King during his first at-bat on Saturday:

The Angels had the last laugh, however, returning in the second to kick off a five-run effort that propelled them to their second win of the series.

Aledmys Diaz is trying to improve his defense with strobe glasses

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MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports that Cardinals’ shortstop Aledmys Diaz has been sporting a new look around Busch Stadium with a pair of “strobe glasses,” technology-enhanced specs designed to help athletes focus on the ball. Like a strobe light, the lenses of these glasses affect a player’s vision by rapidly changing opacity, giving its wearers the illusion that the objects they see are moving more slowly than normal. Once a player adjusts to the new speed of play, they gain a greater sense of control and are able to time their actions with more precision.

Diaz isn’t the first MLB player to utilize the technology, just the first Cardinals’ player to do so. It’s been tested by Bryce Harper, Corey Brown, Tommy Joseph, Austin Hedges and Joe Mauer, among others around the league, and has been used for everything from refining a catcher’s reflexes behind the plate to tweaking a hitter’s ability to track a pitch. Per Langosch, Diaz has been using the glasses to hone in on the ball during pregame drills, increasing both his confidence and response time on the field and improving his defense at short.

The shortstop has been the focus of some concern this season after seeing a sizable dip in his production at the plate, and his five fielding errors, 0.6 UZR and 0.6 fWAR haven’t helped matters, either. He sustained a minor thumb injury during an at-bat on Friday night, and was left off of the Cardinals’ starting lineup on Saturday, though manager Mike Matheny didn’t rule out his ability to pinch-hit during the series. While the strobe glasses are a good start, Diaz will need more than a pair of specs to match the spotlight-worthy performance he turned out during his rookie season in 2016.

Eduardo Rodriguez could rejoin the Red Sox rotation in July

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Red Sox’ left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez may finally get a chance at cracking the rotation again, assuming all goes well in Double-A Portland first. Rodriguez took the field prior to the club’s afternoon session with the Angels, firing 68 pitches in a simulated game as he prepared for an upcoming rehab assignment in Portland on Thursday.

The 24-year-old southpaw suffered a right knee subluxation during pregame warmups on June 1, and it’s been a slow path to recovery ever since. It’s not the first time Rodriguez has had issues with his right knee — he sustained a similar injury during spring training last year — and this time around, the Red Sox weren’t about to gamble with their starter’s health. Ian Browne of MLB.com reports that Rodriguez was put in a knee brace and underwent exercises designed to help him regain some mobility and stability while he worked back up to full strength on the mound.

He’ll still need to prove he can throw a 75- to 80-pitch outing in Double-A, and barring any significant setbacks, will likely rejoin the Red Sox’ pitching staff when they visit the Rangers next month. In the meantime, the club will continue to cycle starters through the No. 5 spot, which has seen no fewer than three different pitchers since Rodriguez hit the disabled list. The lefty is 4-2 in 10 starts this season after logging a 3.54 ERA, 3.1 BB/9 and career-high 9.6 SO/9 through his first 61 innings.